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Grateful Husband Gives to Honor Wife’s Memory

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Growing up in the 1920s and 1930s on a farm in rural Colorado taught Gene Doty several valuable lessons. Among them was giving to others.

Gene, who turned 95 in January, said his family was poor, but he and his 11 siblings never went hungry, because they farmed and butchered their own meat. Each year, the children were provided one pair of pants, one sweater and one pair of shoes. The family farm, located in Fort Morgan, Colorado, about 70 miles northeast of Denver, didn’t have electricity or a toilet inside the house until the mid-1940s. The children slept two to a bed to stay warm. Gene, the oldest, and his next younger sister, Georgia, rode bareback on a single horse to the country schoolhouse outside town.

“Mom was a wonderful mother and a hard worker,” Gene recalled. “She helped everyone and never saw anyone as a stranger. She made bread every day and fed everyone she could.” Gene’s mother was determined not to allow her children to smoke, and she gave a watch to those who never took up the habit. She was incredibly proud to see each graduate from high school, and all six of her boys returned from fighting in World War II.

Today, Gene continues the spirit of sharing ingrained in him as a child. During the past several years, he has funded eight separate $100,000 charitable gift annuities with various nonprofit organizations, including National Jewish Health.

Charitable gift annuities provide support to an organization and fixed payments back to the donor for the rest of his or her life. “It’s a win-win gift, and there’s a nice tax benefit,” Gene said. “You can’t take it with you, and it gives me a good feeling any time I can help others.”

Gene, who was familiar with National Jewish Health and its stellar reputation as far back as 1945 when he returned from duty in the Philippines during WWII, supports the hospital because his wife Barbara was a patient here.

In the early 2000s, Barbara, a longtime smoker, began to experience trouble breathing. Gene knew he needed to take her to National Jewish Health, because it is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. He drove her to appointments in Denver a couple of times a month for at least a year.

“If you’re sick, you want to come to the finest,” Gene explained. “The care she received at National Jewish Health helped her live a little longer.” Supporting health care organizations is important to Gene, and he gave to National Jewish Health in memory of Barbara, who passed away in 2009 from complications associated with lung cancer.

“If you lose your health, you lose everything,” he said.

To support National Jewish Health by funding a charitable gift annuity in honor or memory of a loved one, like Gene did, please contact Gordon Smith, MBA, CFRE, at 1.800.423.8891, Ext. 6549, or After all, there is no gift greater than life and good health.